Business

M&S commits to half food waste by 2025 in new sustainability plan

Marks and Spencer (M&S) has launched the next stage of its sustainability plan, Plan A 2025, ten years after the launch of its original Plan A, making sustainability commitments including ensuring all packaging is ‘widely recyclable’ by 2022 and halving food waste by 2025.

M&S commits to half food waste by 2025 in new sustainability plan
Over the past ten years, since the launch of Plan A, the retailer has reported significant progress through the scheme, with over £750 million saved in efficiency costs from using less energy and reducing packaging, four billion carrier bags saved since 2008, 17,000 people helped from disadvantaged communities, and becoming the world’s first carbon neutral major retailer. The retailer also recently announced plans to include chilled food in its food redistribution scheme as part of Plan A’s target to reduce food waste by 20 per cent by 2020.

The newly-announced Plan A 2025 aims to build on these successes and bring its eco and ethical customer-focused plan to 10 million people in 1,000 communities and convert M&S into a zero-waste business.

The programme is based on three pillars – caring for the planet, wellbeing, and transforming lives and communities – and sets the big issues facing retailers, businesses and consumers in its sights.

“Marks & Spencer has been at the forefront of social change for 133 years and we’re determined to play a leading role in the years ahead,” said M&S Chief Executive Steve Rowe. “Plan A 2025 will help us build a sustainable future by helping our customers live healthier lives, supporting the communities they live in and we source from and looking after the planet we all share.”

Driven by Plan A’s improvements to M&S’ ecological footprint, Plan A 2025 aims to cement M&S as a zero-waste company, revolutionising not only the business but also its supply chains and products. Plan A 2025 commits to:

  • Making all M&S packaging ‘widely recyclable’ by 2022;
  • Halving food waste by 2025;
  • Sourcing all key raw materials from sustainable sources by 2025 (cotton by 2019);
  • Making at least 25 per cent of all M&S Clothing and Home products using 25 per cent recycled material by 2025; and
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent in its own operations by 2030 (compared with 2007 levels) and cut emissions in its supply chain by 13.3 million tonnes by the same date.

M&S will report on the progress of Plan A 2025 every year in June, with commitments assured by independent auditors and M&S’ audit team, while Plan A 2025 will be supported by the new ‘Spend It Well’ brand campaign to demonstrate what M&S is doing in local communities.

M&S commits to half food waste by 2025 in new sustainability plan
Wellbeing and communities

In addition to its environmental impact, Plan A 2025 aims to support customers in improving their wellbeing through a range of commitments including:

  • At least half of global food sales coming from healthier products by 2022; 
  • Helping to raise £25 million for charities tackling cancer, heart disease, mental health problems, loneliness and dementia by 2025;
  • Making space available for community use in 50 per cent of Clothing, Home and Food stores by 2025;
  • Supporting M&S colleagues worldwide to provide one million hours of work-time community volunteering between 2017 and 2025;
  • Over the next seven years the M&S Global Community Programme will help a million people in M&S’ supply chain communities to help build livelihoods and protect the environment. 

Elaborating on the plan, Mike Barry, Director of Plan A, said: “The first 10 years of Plan A have given us the confidence to embrace a sustainable future. Plan A 2025 is now our plan for a future in which a truly sustainable M&S can, in partnership with our customers and stakeholders, have a positive impact in all we do.

“It will force us to address questions for which we don’t have all the answers to yet and collaborate with others to drive true change across consumer goods industries.”

For more information on M&S’ commitments, take a look at M&S’ Plan A 2025 on the Marks and Spencer website.

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